First look inside Didsbury’s newest secondary school

3 April 2020

As most pupils across the UK take a break from the classroom, the first professional photography of South Manchester’s newest school has revealed how modern design is already impacting daily life for pupils and teachers alike.

Didsbury High School, a £20m school from the Laurus Trust, welcomed an initial 210 Year 7 pupils when it opened in September 2019. The school, designed by Pozzoni Architecture and built by BAM, will add further intakes every academic year and will eventually comprise a sixth form of 300 pupils.

The latest photography shows how modern, considered building design is already having an effect on learning and social life. The building’s novel ‘twin-core’ approach has provided two bright and spacious areas for congregation; in the 4-storey, vaulted dining hall and at the Hive – a novel space for pupil interactions, designed around the school’s iconic honeycomb logo.

More functional planning has seen the grouping of similar subjects to aid navigation around the building; with ICT, Science and Maths all taught in close proximity to one another. Laboratory space has been intelligently located so that any noxious fumes can be ventilated away from public areas, while the art classroom has inspirational views across the school yard and outdoor play areas.

The Didsbury High School campus also includes a sports hall and fitness suite, a three-court multi-use games area, teaching spaces, a performance hall, a learning resource centre and a special educational needs facility.

Catherine Mulley, Director at Pozzoni Architecture, said:

“In designing any school, we’re not only trying to create functional and inspiring learning spaces, but also places that offer a positive social experience. This new building is already providing a unique pupil experience, which will only be enhanced through further intakes in the coming years.

“This tight site, with a busy main road nearby, called for a creative approach to design - to make best use of the limited space available for outdoor activities. The elevated roof terrace was incorporated into our designs as a dedicated area for sixth form pupils, ensuring everyone can enjoy open space as the school continues to grow.”